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Sunset at the Beach
By Joaquin Miller

(This beautiful description of sunset on the ocean beach is taken from Joaquin Miller’s long poem “A Song of Creation.” It comprises the opening stanzas of Canto III of that remarkable poem.)

White sea-gulls glistened in the sun—
Ten thousand if a single one—
And every sea-dove knew his mate.
Far, far at sea, the Farallones
Sent up a million plaintive moans
From sea-breasts moaning love, or hate.
The sun sank weary, flushed and worn,
The warm sea-winds sand tattered, torn,
The sun and sea lay welded, wed;
The day lay crouched upon the deep
Half closed, as eyes half closed in sleep,
Half closed, as some good book half read.

The sea was as an opal sea
Inlaid with scintillating light,
Yet close about and left and right
The sea lay banked and bossed in night,
As black as every night may be.

The sundown sea all sudden then
Lay argent, pallid, white as death.
As when some great thing dies; as when
A god gasps in one final breath
And heaves full length his somber bed.
The sundown sea now shone, mobile,
Translucent, flaming, molten steel,
Red, green, then tenfold more than red,
And then of every hue, a hint
Of doubloons spilling from the mint,
Alternate, changing, manifold,
Yet melting, minting all to gold.

Poems About San Francisco
Town Talk The Pacific Weekly
January 17, 1914